An inside look at Gypsum and the work Vaticinate:
I became flushed when first seeing the American Gypsum site on a cell phone. Everything about resonated and shook my being. Now looking back, it is no wonder how I allowed this project to nearly kill me...
To enter the site, I would hike out from miles through the high elevation cold and hardened terrain. Each winter trek was filled with paranoia and excitement. The elevation and cold exhausted me. Not only did I have to trespass and remain unseen by security and police, this was the local town's breadwinner. The darkness disoriented me and the earth moundsSo each hike on those winter nights exha were so cold at such elevation and the darkness so blinding my exhaustion was perpetuated with each failure. Time and time again I would enter and leave with nothing. Knowing what you want and knowing that its very likely it may not happen consumes the person.
With the towel nearly thrown in I discovered mountain tracks near mine one morning. Any fear of being caught had been completely erased. So now, on my last night; while testing stable ground near the works main island, I slipped and began to sink into the silk gypsum Earth. Nearly surrounded by toxic water, this new-age quicksand began to swallow me when my shovel finally struck hardened ground above.
Soaked and shivering, on my hands and knees I begged for air so cold it hurt. I had to leave or freeze. As I was nearing my van, a styrofoam board caught my eye as it moved across the land like an awkward tumbleweed. With this, I made one last go...
About the site:
The town of Gypsum, Colorado has just under 7,000 people and is roughly the same size as the adjacent town of Eagle, a handful of miles east. Both towns share a common ground to the large plant: American Gypsum, the areas largest employer. Gypsum is a mineral that comes from the Earth and is primarily mined for drywall and joint compound manufacturing with American Gypsum being a large U.S. producer.
Currently, American Gypsum is looking to expand its interests and break open a new mine near its current site in Gypsum. Its practices, like all other mining companies are subject to federal standards. It has been shut down numerous times for unsafe practices and re-opened under a new name for years.
The size of this plant and the natural abundance of gypsum in the area is remarkable to see. The town and its people are not only subject to these mishaps and malpractices like toxins entering their drinking water and fishing ponds, but the Colorado river, a major waterway runs 50 meters North of the site. How we treat our Earth is how we face our future...
Thank-you Matt Colaizzo for your support, shovel toss and process photos. Watching the sun change upon that landscape I'll never forget.